Every team has strengths and weaknesses. The Miami Heat have been a small team inside for years, ever since ‘The Heatles’ joined forces. It was the price management paid for putting three franchise players together on one team. You just can’t have a 7-footer clogging up the lane on offense.
That’s why it’s hilarious to me that the NBA media has jumped off of the Laker-bashing this week to unload on the Heat. Okay, so Miami has lost a few games on the road to teams with more size. But why does that suddenly impact their chances of repeating come June? This team has the same weakness they’ve always have had, no true center. I think this recent stretch is more about the dog days of January than the minutia of their ‘bigs’.
Coach Spoelstra has been pushing "position-less basketball" ever since the NBA Lockout. I have always translated that to mean "we don’t have a center". Ten years ago, this group of perimeter stars would never have won a ring. But, as they proved last year with Shane Battier playing PF, being small inside isn’t a detriment. In today’s NBA, it’s actually an advantage.
The lack of size hurting the Heat right now, they’ve always been small. For Miami it’s all about imposing their will, which is their athletic play-making on the perimeter. The problem so far this season is that their defense isn’t as good as it was last year. This hurts their flow and doesn’t allow them to attack in transition, which is when they’re truly unstoppable.
Some point to Miami’s poor rebounding as the main culprit here. I agree, but it’s a bit deeper than that. After all, the Boston Celtics were up 3-2 vs Miami in the Conference Finals last year and they were horrible on the boards.
After losing at Indiana recently, Lebron said "It’s very frustrating…..You are busting your tail to get stops and, every time we would get a stop, it seemed like we’d give up second chance points." I see the rebounding problem in Miami to actually be a byproduct of the weaker defense. Guys are scattering more and, as a result, are not in good rebounding position.
Fixing the defense should be priorities 1, 2, & 3 for ‘Coach Spo’.
All else will take care of itself.